Whitefriars Glassworks, an institution in British glass making survived over 300 years before the last of the burning furnaces was put out in 1980. Although this glass is no longer in production pieces by designers such as Geoffrey Baxter have become one of the most sought after collectables in Studio Glass today and prices are going through the roof! The original home of Whitefriars glass was near Temple in London, it is because of this site that the glassworks was given its name. There originally stood an ancient monastry where the monks were dressed in white habits and were known as the “White Friars”. This glassworks has changed hands several times since being established in 1680. During its long history and before James Powell bought the works, the owners were a family called Holmes who successfully ran Whitefriars for over fifty years. It was in 1834 when James Powell, a famous wine merchant purchased the works and changed the name to “James Powell & Sons”. The original name of Whitefriars was not reverted back until 1963. In 1873 Harry Powell, grandson to James joined the works and by 1875 became Manager. Harry was responsible for some of the most innovative designs of the Arts and Crafts period and carried the works right through the First World War until his death in 1922. In 1923 the original works which stood in the heart of the City of London on the site of the monastry was moved to a new site in Wealdstone. A long tradition was that the furnaces should remain burning at all times, so when the site was moved a lit brazier was carried to the new site and used to ignite the very first furnace there. There are many designers which made Whitefriars Glass such an institution in the world of glass blowing including Harry Powell and James Hogan but today’s collectors seem to favour the designs of Geoffrey Baxter and his pieces are reaching huge prices on the secondary market at the moment. Geoffrey Baxter born 1922 was employed at the works as assistant designer in 1954. Working under the instruction of William Wilson, then Managing Director, he was the first permanent employee to be employed outside of the Powell family. Baxter graduated from the Royal College of Arts Industrial Glassware and was without doubt going to drive the company forward. The post war Britain realised that Sweden along with Finland and Denmark were pushing the glass making forward with the studio glass movement. This encouraged Baxter to take his influence from Scandinavian designs and combine them with his own contemporary ideas. He was responsible for creating the cased glass, this was coloured glass encased with clear crystal glass. The colours were rich ruby red, blue and green, produced in 1955. This was the start of the new modern trends from Baxter. He successfully created a balance between the traditional look and his bolder modern designs which in turn put Whitefriars Glass and British glass making back on the map. In 1964 William Wilson and Harry Dyer launched the “Knobbly Range” at the Blackpool Fair. These were free blown pieces of glass that were heavier and thicker than any other pieces produced before with a lumpy finish to the outside. Baxter was involved with producing the colours for the range, there were two choices either solid coloured cased glass or streaky colours in brown or green. The “Knobbly Range” was in production right through until 1972. Baxter went on to drive the company forward and give it a completely new lease of life, probably his most famous and definitely collectable ran ge is the “Textured Range” launched in 1967. It is no secret that Baxter produced the moulds for his new innovative design at home in his garage. Using natural materials such as tree bark he lined the moulds so that when the glass was blown into them it created a textured feel to the outside resembling the bark of a tree. He drew his inspiration from other natural and man-made materials. Once his moulds were created he used the factory to produce trials that he left on Wilson’s desk for him to see the minute he arrived back in the office from a holiday. Wilson was over the moon with the new range and it was given his blessing to go into production. Baxter used coiled wire to create other effects and then Baxter’s favourite vases was made by using irregular slabs of glass and building them together to make blocks on top of each other. This is the highly collectable “Cube Vase” or more commonly known today as the “Drunken Bricklayer”. Recently watching secondary market prices on internet auctions and at collectable fairs I have seen a rare 8” Aubergine colour Drunken Bricklayer sell from £600 up to as much as £1200. If you are starting a collection of Whitefriars then I highly recommend the “Bark Vases”, I bought my tangerine coloured vase for £40. They also come in various colours such as Kingfisher blue, Ruby and Pewter to name but a few. There are many variations on the “textured range” which include “Banjo”, ”Sunburst” and clear glass designs such as “Glacier” and “Everest”. Most of these designs were made during the 1960’s so have a real retro feel to them which again is extremely popular amongst collectors at the moment. As with anything popular other companies began to make cheaper copies of this range and so in the mid 70’s only the Bark vases and some of the Glacier pieces were being made. Peter Wheeler who was only at Whitefriars for a very short time designed with Baxter the “Peacock Studio Range” in 1969. This was a fantastic design using a combination of colours, Peter was also responsible for the gold and orange vases which formed part of the “striped Studio Range”. Whitefriars are also well known for their millifiore paperweights. Extremely difficult to make as all hand made and crafted Whitefriars became […]
Folio Society Books All those who appreciate beautiful books should give three cheers for The Folio Society, the sixty-four year old publishing enterprise which produces fine volumes of great literature at affordable prices. Founded in 1947 by Charles Ede, The Folio Society caters for bibliophiles who value books not just for their literary content but also for how they look and feel. Before the Society came along, handsomely bound books with fine illustrations were beyond the means of all but the wealthy. Ede had a vision to change that, to bring the pleasure of owning a library of superior publications within the scope of most people. He was assisted in this endeavour by two experienced figures in the world of book publishing, Alan Bott, founder of The Book Society and Pan Books, and Christopher Sandford of the Golden Cockerel Press. In 1947 three titles emerged from the fledgling enterprise – Tales from Tolstoy, Trilby by George du Maurier, and a translation of Aucassin and Nicolette, a thirteenth century love story by an unknown author. Today, there are over 300 titles to choose from, covering a wide range of subjects including history, biography, humour, fiction, travel, children’s literature, poetry, religion and philosophy. In the early days, Folio Society books came with dust jackets but since 1954 they have been presented in smart slip cases which help preserve the books. The attractive bindings come in a variety of materials including buckram, cloth, silk, goatskin and leather, with every volume designed to look stylish both outside and in. Indeed, one of the great joys of owning a collection of Folio Society books lies in appreciating the elegant spectacle they make on a bookcase. The standards remain impressive once you open a Folio Society volume. The books are printed on high quality, wood-and-acid-free paper which does not go brown and deteriorate with age, and is thus the only sensible choice for books that are intended to last for generations. Great care is also taken with the typography to ensure that reading a Folio book is a pleasurable experience, since nothing spoils the enjoyment of a book more than tightly packed or overly ornate type that swims before one’s eyes and causes headaches. Then there are the books’ illustrations – beautiful wood engravings, etchings, linocuts and lithographs that are usually specially commissioned by the Folio Society and executed by some of the leading artists of today. Just occasionally, high quality reproductions of famous, well-loved illustrations are used; after all, who could draw Alice better than John Tenniel or Winnie the Pooh better than E.H. Shepard? Folio Society Books collecting as a member For budget conscious collectors, the beauty about Folio Society books is that there are several different ways in which they can be collected. First of all, there is the most orthodox method which involves responding to one of the Society’s many press advertisements. In return for a commitment to buy a minimum of four titles in a twelve month period, new members are allowed to purchase a specified book or set of books at a greatly reduced price. At the time of writing, for example, there are several enticing joining offers including The Complete Pictorial Guides by A. Wainwright for £19.95, a discount of 91% from the usual price of £219.85, and The Complete Paddington by Michael Bond, also for £19.95 instead of the usual £246.95. A postage and packing charge of £4.95 is added to these prices but even so they represent incredible value for money. In recent years a similar deal offered four superbly illustrated volumes of fairy tales and fables at a vastly discounted price, an offer many book lovers would have found hard to resist. There are other benefits of membership, too, including joining ‘gifts’ – usually an interesting book and a diary or a pen – and regular, highly informative newsletters. Yet however tempting these special offers may seem, there is a risk that people will think all Folio Society titles are as expensive as the ones that have had their prices slashed in order to attract new members. In reality this is very far from the truth. Relatively few cost more than £50 and in the current prospectus, around 113 of the 248 titles are priced at less than £30, very little more than the cost of any ordinary, mass-produced hardback. Many of the titles offered in this price range tend to be popular works of fiction. This makes fulfilling the four-book minimum order requirement easily achievable for most book lovers. Membership is made even more attractive by the occasional ‘buy one, get one free’ deals offered to members. A typical offer allows members to select one free book for each title they order, as long as it is of equal or lesser value. Great savings can be made in this way, enabling members to snap up titles from the prospectus that they had earmarked but had so far been unable to afford. Folio Society Books secondary market purchasing Although Folio Society membership offers many benefits, some people simply don’t like being obligated to purchase a minimum number of books and for them, the secondary market is the place to look. As a quick Google search reveals, plenty of second-hand book dealers sell Folio Society titles so then it’s simply a question of browsing through the dealers’ lists until something of interest is found. It’s a good idea to shop around because prices do vary from dealer to dealer, and postage and packing charges also fluctuate wildly. It is also an idea to browse internet auction sites as they are a good source for potential bargains. For example, a few years ago the Folio Society prospectus offered a lovely edition of the E. Nesbit children’s classic, The Railway Children, for £22.95 plus £4.95 for postage. At the same time, a copy of the same book was listed on Ebay with a ‘Buy It Now’ price of £8.99 plus £3.00 postage. That’s a saving of £15.91, which […]
Considered by many to be the ‘Master’ of ivory sculpture, Ferdinand Preiss was a skilled designer, modeller and carver, who worked throughout the Art Deco period.
On a recent trip to Brittany and the magnificent Mont St Michel I came across a wonderful display of modern Quimper Faience Pottery and notably Henriot Quimper. Many of the designs and colours were instantly recognisable and based on the traditional The Petite Breton pattern, but there were also many new modern and very attractive patterns. The handpainted French faience known as Quimper Pottery (pronounced “cam-pair”) was founded by potter Jean Baptiste Bousquet and has been manufactured in Quimper, Brittany, France since 1690. The Locmaria area of Qimper had an abundance of clay, a navigable river and skilled labour and was to be an ideal place for Jean Baptiste Bousquetto build his kilns. The firm was known as HB Quimper. In 1772, a rival firm was founded by Francoise Eloury known as Porquier. A third firm formed in 1778 by Guillaume Dumaine which was known as HR or Henriot Quimper. The pottery made by the three companies was similar featuring the Breton peasants and sea and flower motifs. In 1913, Porquier and Henriot merged with HB joining the others in 1968. The company was sold to a US family in 1984. More changes followed and in 2011 Jean Pierre Le Goff purchased the company and changed the name to Henriot. Henriot Quimper continues the tradition producing the traditional patterns featuring the Breton figures as well as many new more modern designs. The superbly talented resident artists at Henriot still hand-craft every piece of Quimper Pottery. Historically, the Quimper factories hosted artists in their studios which continues to this day. Quimper pieces are still produced from casts and works by major artists who have created works for the various Quimper factories, including Berthe Savigny, Louis Henri Nicot, R. Michaeu Vernez, Rene Quillivic, Beau & Porquier & George Robin. In addition, contemporary artists, such as Paul Moal and Loic Bodin continue to work with Henriot. Further details Henriot-Quimper : Actualité
The Time Tunnel remains a cult classic and we take a look at some of the The Time Tunnel collectibles, The Time Tunnel merchandise and The Time Tunnel toys that have appeared over the years. We also look at some auction results and some guide prices. The Time Tunnel was created by Irwin Allen and was his third science-fiction television series (after Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space). It was set around time travel and starred James Darren as Tony (Dr. Anthony Newman) and Robert Colbert as Doug (Dr. Douglas Phillips) as the two Time Travellers. The Time Tunnel ran for one season of 30 episodes from 1966 to 1967. The Time Tunnel and Project Tic-Toc The series is set in 1968, two years into the future from the actual broadcast season, 1966-67. Project Tic-Toc is a top-secret U.S. government effort to build an experimental time machine, known as The Time Tunnel due to its appearance as a cylindrical hallway. The base for Project Tic-Toc is a huge, hidden underground complex in Arizona, 800 floors deep and employing more than 12,000 specialized personnel. Project Tic-Toc is in its 10th year and at a cost of $7.5 billion (equivalent to near $60 billion in 2022) and is under threat of being cancelled. After an ultimatum is delivered either the project sends someone into time and return him during the course of his visit or their funding will cease. Tony volunteers but he is turned down by project director Doug Phillips. Defying this decision, Tony sends himself into time and finds himself on the maiden voyage of The Titanic. The Time Tunnel team can see where Tony is and when he gets locked up Doug follows to rescue him. From then onwards they travel to various time periods for many adventures. The Time Tunnel View Master set (Sawyer’s B491) features 3 reels showing 21 views from the Rendezvous With Yesterday which was the pilot episode. A complete set in very good condition is estimated at $50. The Time Tunnel Gold Key comics – this ran for two issues. Issue 1 featured The Assassins set in April 14th 1865 and features the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, The Lion or the Volcano? set in August 24th 79 A.D. Pompeii and see Tony and Doug in a Roman adventure and Mars Count-Down set in 1980 and features a trip to Mars. . Issue 2 featured two stories The Conquerors in which Doug and Tony end up in the future and discover a plot to go back in time and help the Nazis win World War II and The Captives in which the pair end up stuck in the middle of a conflict between Indians and General George Custer. As with most comics condition is a major determinant of value. Issues in Near Mint condition are valued at $80 for Issue 1 and $40 for Issue 2. The Time Tunnel Game was produced by Ideal Based on ABC Television Network Series. The copy pictured was sold by Hakes Auctions for $420 in 2012. The sets see the game travel from Prehistoric Era, The Middle Ages, 19th and 20th Century and The Future. The first player to complete voyages through all four time periods wins. Very few come to auction so we would expect a near mint example to be highly sought after. The Time Tunnel Spin to Win Game was produced by the Pressman Toy Co and was one of the Spin Cycle Series of games. The copy pictured was also sold by Hakes Auctions for $132 in September 2009. As with The Time Tunnel Game very few come to auction so we would expect a near mint example to be highly sought after. The Time Tunnel Trading Gum Cards Where Historic Events and Periods did The Time Tunnel visit? Tony and Doug become participants in past events such as the sinking of the Titanic (Episode 1 Rendezvous with Yesterday), the attack on Pearl Harbor Epiode 4 The Day the Sky Fell In), the eruption of Krakatoa (Episode 6 Crack of Doom), Custer’s Last Stand (Episode 8 Massacre), the Battle of the Alamo (Episode 13 The Alamo) and even the signing of The Magna Carta and meeting Robin Hood (Episode 16 The Revenge of Robin Hood). General Kirk, Ray, and Ann in the control room are able to locate them in time and space, observe them, occasionally communicate with them through voice contact, and send help. With no concern for the Time Continuum, Tony and Doug meddle in time through the ages. The Time Tunnel Disc Cards Did Tony and Doug Escape the Time Tunnel? When the series was abruptly cancelled in the summer of 1967 by ABC, they had not filmed an episode in which Tony and Doug are safely returned to the Time Tunnel complex. Autographs and signed items from the stars are an essential in a collection of The Time Tunnel Collectibles. Further information Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Collectibles https://www.thetimetunnel.com/ lots of information on the series
Disney and the Wade Hat Box Series Wade and Disney are two of the hottest collectable names around – so a combination of both makes for something really special. In 1955, Walt Disney’s Film Lady and the Tramp was released and was a tremendous success, combining an appealing story, enchanting animation, and songs by Peggy Lee, one of the greatest singers of the era. It was no wonder that Wade approached Disney for permission to use the character designs for a new series of porcelain figurines. In the Film Lady was given as a Christmas gift hidden in a hat box, and so each model was similarly packaged in a small, round, striped cardboard box. Naturally, the series was called ‘Hat Box’. The first four figurines were released in 1956 and retailed at 2/11d (30p) each. This set, all from Lady and the Tramp, included the two title characters, plus Jock the scottie and Trusty the bloodhound. They were nicely modeled and painted, and stood around one and a half to two inches tall. In this early set, Jock wasn’t wearing his familiar tartan coat, but later he was given a blue coat which was subsequently changed to green. The characters proved popular and over the next few years more figurines from Lady and the Tramp appeared in the shops. Eventually the set included Scamp the naughty puppy, as well as Peg, Dachie, Toughy and Bons, all dogs from the film. Also available were those two evil Siamese cats, Si and Am, Si in particular looking really sinister as he revealed his sharp feline toothypegs. Characters from other films were produced too. Favourites such as Bambi and his Friends Thumper the bunny and Flower the skunk as well as Pegasus the little winged horse from Fantasia and Dumbo the elephant with the over-large ears, all appeared as china figures in the Hat Box series. In the early 1960s Wade introduced ten new figurines, and the price rose to 3/6d (33p). Because this last set had a short production run, many are now extremely rare, and some are commanding prices of a hundred pounds or so, which seems a lot of money for a two inch high figure. The characters included dogs from 101 Dalmatians – Rolly, Lucky and the Colonel – and also the cat, Sergeart Tibs. But it is The Sword in the Stone set that contains the most highly-prized figurines of all – Merlin the Wizard in his alter-egos of caterpillar, turtle or hare, as well as Madam Mim the hen, Archimedes the owl, and the Girl Squirrel. Just a couple of years later, the Wade Hat Box series was discontinued. Merlin as a turtle is now the most wanted, and most difficult to obtain, Hat Box figurine. Sixteen years later Wade must have had second thoughts, because they reissued seven of the original figures – Lady, Jock, Scamp, Peg, Dachie – now called Dachsie – Bambi and Thumper. Tramp was also reissued, but this was a new version, seated instead of standing, and didn’t seem to capture the charisma and impudence of the original street-wise dog. Also the modeling on this new figure wasn’t as fine, and it was smaller, out of proportion with the others In the set. The original standing Tramp is now becoming quite scarce, because the long lanky legs are delicate and so are easily broken. The other designs remained the same, apart from slight colour variations which are difficult to distinguish unless you can compare both versions side by side. For instances Peg’s fringe was beige in the new model and yellow in the original, while Scamp’s ears were now pink inside instead of mauve. Thumper’s flower changed from dark to light orange, Bambi’s eyes from dark to light brown and Jock’s mouth from purple to pink. Wade also released four models from The Fox and the Hound. These were Big Mama the owl, Tod the fox, and Copper and Chief, two of the dogs. Some of these models came in small round boxes made from plastic. The others were in cardboard boxes brightly decorated with Disney characters. Now the series was just referred to as ‘Disneys’. Today, prices very greatly for Hat Box and Disneys figurines, but the more common ones such as Lady, Peg or Bambi are around £15-£20. As a follow-on from the first Hat Box series, Wade produced a series of extra large Disney characters, similar to the smaller models’ except for Jock, who was standing instead of sitting, and Lady and Tramp who now both sat. These models were around five inches tall, and became known as ‘Blow-ups’ amongst collectors. They’re very collectable, some of them changing hands for two hundred pounds or more.
Imagine sitting down to enjoy a nice drink and whilst taking a sip you look down you are faced with a small frog in your mug. A nice surprise or maybe not! This was the idea behind the Frog Mug which were first produced around 1750 but became very popular during the first quarter of the 19th Century. One theory of how the frog mug came to be made was that a potter who had nearly completed some mugs, had left them to cool overnight. On his return he found a frog sitting at the bottom of one of them. He was so surprised and amused he decided to make a mug with a frog inside based on the idea. They proved so popular the frog mug was created. Most frog mugs feature a frog on the side or on the bottom, and occasionally on the rim. Some frogs have open mouth so when the drink was poured it would also go through the frog’s mouth. There are some examples of larger vessels having multiple frogs and even lizards as well. The earliest frog mugs date to around 1750 and are largely associated with the Sunderland potteries including Brunton & Company (afterwards Moore & C0) who were noted with early examples. One of the most noted potteries for the production of the frog mug was Dixon and Co. Although Sunderland and the north-east were the leading area for the frog mugs, they were also made in the Stafford potteries and the Leeds potteries. The frog mugs created in Sunderland pimarily feature the famous Sunderland lustreware with its pink lustre decorated with black transfer prints often with mottos, phrases and sayings. More popular designs include portrayals of the Wearmouth bridge, Ironbridge and the Crimea. As many of these mugs were used by sailors many had a strong nautical theme and featured sailing ships, the Sailor’s Farewell and the Sailor’s Return. The majority of antique frog mugs made in Sunderland can be bought from around £60 to £200. The main factors affecting price are rarer transfers & motifs and condition. The price of other examples is variable, with great variations in price – from £40 to £1,000. Example pieces and prices have been given in this feature. The frog mug is a quirky, attractive item with great historic interest, and collections can still be created for a modest investment.
The first World Cup was in 1930 and if you are looking for memorabilia from then or even the subsequent World Cups up to 1966 you will find posters, autographs and programmes, but not much else. We can blame 1966 and World Cup Willie for the era of collectable memorabilia. Pictured right: World Cup Willie memorabilia – An official cloth doll, a snow storm in original box, an ashtray, a pen-knife, a horse brass, a hanging car mascot, a commemorative pin in original box, four metal badges, six plastic badges and three key rings all featuring World Cup Willie. Sold for £180 at Bonhams, London, June 2006. World Cup Willie was the first official mascot for the FIFA World Cup, being used to represent the 1966 FIFA World Cup in the United Kingdom. He was a large anthropomorphic lion who wore a Union Flag jersey with the words “WORLD CUP”. Willie was the creation of artist Reg Hoye, who was asked to design a mascot for the World Cup competition by the English Football Association. Pictured left: A 1966 World Cup Willie tankard – 1966 flag logo to side and World Cup Willie mascot, gold gilt trim to handle and bands to edges (faded), stamped with makers mark Gibson & Sons Ltd of Stoke on Trent underneath. Height approx. 112mm. Sold for £187 at Bonhams, Chester, February 2002. Reg Hoye was a well respected artist having considerable experience and had illustrated some of Enid Blyton’s childrens books. Willie was one of four designs created, one was a boy and three were based on Lions. The design finally selected was of course Willie, with his looked based on Reg Hoye’s son Leo. Pictured right: A collection of 1966 World Cup Football memorabilia – Including an original programme from 1966 World Cup final [g], Officials Union Jack design pin badge, World Cup Willie mascot toy, pennant, Football Monthly souvenir, W.D and H.O.Wills portable desk and folder, newspapers and magazines. Sold for £216 at Bonhams, Chester, October 2009. Willie was a massive success and was popular not only in the UK, but throughout the world. There was special interest in the character in Germany and Russia. Willie found himself on everything from mugs to bedspreasd, money boxes to posters and from tankards to plates. There was a huge merchandise boom based on Willie and the 1966 World Cup. Pictured left: 1966 World Cup Willie postcard hand signed by Bobby Moore A colour postcard of 1966 World Cup mascot Willie, postmarked 18 August 1966, with England Winners stamp, hand signed by Bobby Moore. Sold for £350 at Bonhams, Chester, October 2011. Another first for 1966 was the World Cup song which was aptly name ‘World Cup Willie’ and was sung by the skiffle king Lonnie Donegan. The song was re-released for the 2010 World Cup by Lonnie Donegan Jnr. Dressed in red, white and blue, he’s World Cup Willie We all love him too, World Cup Willie He’s tough as a lion and never will give up That’s why Willie is fav’rite for the Cup Willie, Willie, he’s evry’body’s fav’rite for the Cup Pictured right: A red England 1966 World Cup final International shirt, No.10, with crew-neck collar and embroidered cloth badge. The shirt was worn by Geoff Hurst in the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany. The 1966 World Cup Final England who started the 1966 competition as one of the favourites, due to the fact that the tournament was held on home soil, began their group qualifying games with a 0-0 draw against Uruguay. In the two remaining group qualifying matches England defeated Mexico and France 2-0 in both games. In the quarter-final match against Argentina, Geoff Hurst scored the only goal of an explosive match thirteen minutes from the end. England’s opponents in the semi-final were Portugal who had the wonderfully gifted Eusebio in their side. In a very entertaining match, England were worthy 2-1 winners with both goals being scored by Bobby Charlton. Pictured left: World Cup 1966 memorabilia – Eight tickets for games played in London to include Final and all England matches; two pennants; a World Cup Willie blazer badge; three F.A. News covering the World Cup; three postcards and official book by Purnell. Sold for £384 at Bonhams, London, June 2006. In the other semi-final, West Germany disposed of the U.S.S.R. national team by the same score and this set up a final match of the tournament between two of football’s oldest rivals at Wembley on 30th July 1966. Pictured right: A 1966 World Cup Winner’s Medal belonging to Alan Ball – a gold (unhallmarked) World Cup Winner’s medal, 1966, awarded to Alan Ball, the obverse inscribed F.I.F.A., the reverse inscribed World Championship, Jules Rimet Cup, in England 1966, Alan James Ball, with ring suspension. Sold for £164, 800 at Christies, London, May 2005. Before a crowd of just under 100,000, Haller scored for West Germany in the thirteenth minute, but six minutes later Geoff Hurst scored his country’s equaliser. For the best part of the next hour, neither side dominated the match but with twelve minutes remaining Geoff Hurst had an optimistic shot at goal which spun in the air for Martin Peters to knock home for what appeared to be the decisive winning goal. However, with seconds remaining, a hotly disputed free-kick from West Germany found its way across England goal and Weber knocked the ball into the net for a dramatic equaliser which took the match into extra-time. Pictured left: A collection of 1966 World Cup memorabilia – A large collection of memorabilia produced for the 1966 World Cup including stamps, World Cup Willie cloth badge, Geoff Hurst/Martin Peters hand signed picture, 8mm film of final, German album, football signed by Nobby Stiles, Gordon Banks, Ray Wilson, Alan Ball, Jack Charlton, George Cohen, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters and Roger Hunt, Wembley seat back and a ‘Sooper Snooper’ World Cup periscope. Sold for £216 at Bonhams, Chester, Feb 2009. After ten minutes of extra-time, England scored their third and without doubt the most controversial goal that has […]
Evenings are longer now, and traditionally this is the time of year when witches shake the dust from their broomsticks to take off into the skies, black cats polish their whiskers and wizards settle down with their spell books and a goblet of something tasty made from newts. Harry Potter is big business, and as well as dvds, keyrings, mugs and sticker books there are some stunning dolls made in his likeness, and those of Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and the rest of the Hogwarts’ inhabitants. Ever since Harry first appeared – ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, was released in 2001 – dolls have been made as tie-ins with the films, and it has been fascinating to watch these dolls develop, reflecting the growing up of the children in the films. So far, the films which have appeared are ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, ‘Chamber of Secrets’, ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’, ‘Goblet of Fire’, ‘Order of the Phoenix’ and the latest ‘Half-Blood Prince’, and as each hits the cinemas, so a new range of toys and dolls reaches the shops. Not all of the dolls are intended just for children, either! When Robert Tonner, a prestigious American designer, announced in 2005 that he intended to issue a line of Harry Potter dolls, collectors were intrigued. The first doll in the series, ‘Harry Potter at Hogwarts’ featured Harry in his school outfit of grey sweater and flannel trousers with a black robe, and was breathtaking; this was a perfect Harry! Most of the dolls in the series stand around 17 inches tall, and feature 17 points of articulation, which means they are eminently poseable. They have hand-painted faces and the modelling is excellent. Since that initial release, other Tonner versions of Harry have appeared, such as Harry in his Quidditch outfit and Harry ready for the Yule Ball. The Quidditch Harry features him dressed in a custom knit sweater over racing trousers and shin guards. His red and yellow house robe bears the Gryffindor crest. A magnificent Firebolt broomstick is available separately. The Yule Ball version is a rather sinister Harry, in a long black robe over a formal shirt, trousers, waistcoat and bow tie. A model of Hedwig, his owl, can be purchased to add a finishing touch by perching it on Harry’s arm. The Ron and Hermione dolls are equally stunning, especially the Yule Ball versions. Ron at the Yule Ball wears his vintage tapestry robe – the subject of much mirth in the book – over a frilled formal shirt, trousers and velvet bow tie. His ginger hair is set off well by the autumnal shades of his robe. Hermione is beautiful in her long ball gown in graduated shades of purple chiffon ruffles, and with her upswept hair styled in ringlets around her face. The company also sells casual outfits which the three friends can wear for weekend outings. Now Tonner has added more characters, such as Draco Malfoy, Cho Chang, Professor Snape and Voldemort. Even Dobby, Kreacher, Crookshanks, Fawkes and the Sorting Hat are included in the Tonner creations, which means that keen collectors can act out the stories through their dolls if they want, or arrange them in scenes from the books or films on a shelf. Perhaps the most handsome of the dolls is the fair-haired Draco Malfoy, which conveys not only a sense of smouldering evil, but also of smouldering good looks. Draco has also been created as a ‘special’ in his Quidditch outfit. The delightful Cho Chang is charming in her school uniform, while the elegant Yule ball version features her in an embroidered kimono-style dress. Of course, Tonner aren’t the only company to have made Harry Potter dolls; amongst others are Gotz, Mattel, Vivid Imaginations and Gund. Gund created a series of plush dolls a few years ago, skilfully modelled with flocked-felt faces. They also produced a range of all-fabric dolls. Mattel too made soft-bodied dolls featuring Harry and his friends. These Mattel dolls, which were some of the earliest Harry Potter commemorative dolls, were 12 inches high and featured thick yarn hair. Each doll came with an appropriate charm – Harry had an owl, Ron a dragon, whilst Hermione had a hat. Hagrid, the burly half-giant, has been made as plush toy by both Gund and Vivid Imaginations Various smaller dolls have appeared over the last decade. Mattel have been responsible for several ranges, amongst them the ‘Wizard Sweets’ series, which featured 8 inch high dolls packed in sweet shop illustrated boxes and included various sweet-themed items. They also produced moulded figures in assorted sizes, incorporating some of the characters not normally issued as dolls, such as Dumbledore and Ginny Weasley, and even a model of the Hogwarts Express, all ready to leave from platform 9¾ . Gund, too, produce unusual characters – they make an excellent ‘Fluffy’ (three headed dog), baby Norbert (dragon), Hedwig (owl) and Mrs Norris (Kneazle), all created from soft plush or fabric. They even make a golden snitch with pearly fabric wings, ready for a game of Quidditch. In 2002 the German Gotz company released a set of three excellent characters – Harry, Ron and Hermione. Each doll was 18 inches high, and the modelling was impressive. Their costumes were very detailed and excellently constructed and the character faces were slightly quirky These dolls were limited editions, but surprisingly, although they were so well-made (and expensive, around £100), they don’t sell for much on the secondary market at present. I would expect these to be ‘sleeper dolls’, which will suddenly rise in value. Character dolls, especially the top-of the range kinds, such as those featured here by Gotz and Robert Tonner, are usually a good investment for the collector.The world of entertainment is volatile, and so personalities tend to come and go. Soon, there will be no new Harry Potter films, and manufacturers will turn to different films for inspiration. Then the Harry Potter dolls, especially those which have been kept mint in box, will come into their own. DID YOU KNOW? […]
They have a variety of names – pincushion dolls, tea-cosie dolls and dresser dolls… and there are those also known as ‘tops’, ‘pin heads’ or ‘whisk-broom’ dolls. Generally they are referred to as Half Dolls… but whatever name may be dubbed, they all have one thing in common.